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Nathan's column: Blowing cold air

It's been nearly six years since I bought my house. In all of those years, I've never had air conditioning. Not central air. Not a window unit. Not even a Flintstone-style pterodactyl that would cool me with flaps of it's giant, leathery wings while occasionally making wisecracks to some unseen audience.

It's too bad, because that last one would be pretty sweet. Aside from the part where it probably would have eaten me because I forgot to lay in an adequate supply of prehistoric rats or whatever it is pterodactyls eat.

For the most part, it hasn't been much of an issue. Air conditioning can seem like a luxury in a state where it's winter for something like eight months out of the year. Combine that with the fact my bedroom has narrower windows than most AC manufacturers seem to realize exist and, well, it just never happened. I never found a unit that worked, partly because I didn't look all that hard.

Like I said, that's mostly been OK. Most days during the summer I get by with a big fan. And maybe it's a little uncomfortable in my upper level, which is where my bedroom happens to be, but it's not usually too bad.

(Quick side note: There is another bedroom in my lower level, which tends to stay relatively comfortable on all but the very hottest days. I can't move my bed there, though, because that's the bike room. You know, where I keep my bikes and bike-related accessories when I remember to put them away. I swear this makes sense somehow.)

There are days, though. There are days when it's been 98 degrees and humid for a week straight and things start to get a bit sticky. There are nights when I might lie in bed with a fan blowing directly on me and are still feel too hot to sleep. That's when you start thinking things like, "Hey, I wonder what it would be like if I emptied all of the ice cubes out of the freezer onto my bed and just rolled around on them."

Those thoughts pass eventually, in no small part because I usually realize I have neglected to refill any of the ice cube trays.

It wasn't always pleasant, but I satisfied myself with the thought the hot spells would eventually end and I'd be be back to piling blankets on top of myself as snow drifted outside. You know, like April.

Well, now things are changing. A few weeks ago, on a quest to replace a long-serving microwave that had finally warmed its last burrito, I finally found a window AC unit that would fit my dainty windows.

I didn't buy it, of course. A heat wave had just ended. It was a beautiful night. The heat-fevered part of my brain that sometimes convinces me I need to find a solution had fallen dormant.

And then, of course, it got hot again. Because apparently that's how weather works. And I bought the air conditioner. And I installed it in the window and plugged it into the wall. And after about two seconds of cool air blowing on me I realized how foolish I had been for more than half a decade.

It turns out, my bedroom is a more pleasant place to be when it isn't roughly the same temperature as the surface of Mercury. And it's easier to sleep when you don't have to worry about asphyxiating on your own sweat.

It was great. And even the fact this week's weather has felt more like September than July isn't enough to make me reconsider.

It's almost enough to make me think I should fix the air conditioning in my car.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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